The Mille Lacs County Board of Commissioners discussed and approved multiple resolutions, including a labor agreement with the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s union and a public health concern regarding septic tank systems during the Tuesday, May 7 regularly scheduled board meeting.

The labor agreement between the county of Mille Lacs and the Law Enforcement Labor Services, the union that represents the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office, includes a 2.25 percent pay increase for union members effective Jan. 1, 2018, and a pay increase of 2.5 percent effective Jan. 1, 2019. 

According to Mille Lacs County Administrator Pat Oman, the board action means union members will be retroactively paid going back to Jan. 1, 2018. 

Mille Lacs County and the labor union did not disclose any back payment amount or number of union members receiving it at the time this story went to press.

The previous agreement expired at the end of 2017, Oman said.

During the May 7 meeting, commissioners also approved a resolution regarding the abatement of five noncompliant subsurface sewage treatment systems in the county.

According to the resolution, several sewage treatment systems have been identified as “imminent public health threats” that will need to be upgraded or replaced by the county. 

A total of $125,000 will be used from the general fund to upgrade and replace noncompliant SSTS within the county. 

According to Dillon Hayes, environmental resource manager for Mille Lacs County, the noncompliant systems will be brought back into compliance by the end of this year.

“The expense [of the project] will be assessed directly to the properties affected,” Oman said.

Commissioners also approved a $425,000 purchase agreement for an Off-Road Vehicle park property following an appraisal and environmental review which, according to Oman, should be completed by this October.

Oman said he hopes the purchase agreement will be completed before October, since work has been started for both the appraisal and environmental review.

The land purchase will be funded by Recreational Trail Program and Grant in Aid, according to an agenda request form presented to commissioners at the May 7 meeting.

Commissioners also approved a resolution for the sale of ditch bonds for $1.19 million for tree removal projects along three ditches in the county that will help improve drainage systems. 

The approved amount is an aggregate principal amount and is subject to adjustment according to the resolution. The debt from selling these bonds plus interest will fall to the ditch owners.

In other action, the board:

•Awarded the final payment for the completed $1.16 million roundabout project at Highway 95 and County Road 157 in Princeton to the Knife River Corp.;

•Approved and executed the 2020-2021 Caseload Workload Grant Agreement which gives the county a grant of $121,364 from the Minnesota Department of Corrections to reduce the workload of its probation officers;

•Approved and executed the 2020-2021 REAM Grant Agreement, which provides a $20,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Corrections which is used to Remote Electronic Alcohol Monitoring;

•Accepted a donation of 30 office chairs by the Luther Automotive Group;

•Approved the $1,514 purchase of a gas gun and ammunition for the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Department which will be paid for by the Sheriff’s Office Drug Forfeiture account;

•Approved a May 14 date to lift spring load restrictions in the county;

•Approved a public works building and law enforcement facility study;

•Approved a letter of support for the 2020 census count;

•Accepted a presentation regarding an audit of the Development Achievement Center;

•Adopted a resolution for state grant funding for a culvert replacement on County Road 5;

•Approved an Environmental Assessment Worksheet and declined to do an Environmental Impact Statement for Fiddlestix RV & Golf Resort.

Mark Wasson is an APG of East Central Minnesota freelance contributing reporter who covers municipal and county government.

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